The Ombudsman as Defender of Human Rights in Israel

The significant change in the normative status of human rights in Israel took place in 1992, with the legislation of the Basic Laws dealing with human rights – Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation.  In 1995 the Supreme Court established that these Basic Laws had generated a "constitutional revolution" in the State of Israel.

The Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman plays a central role in the democratic regime of the State of Israel, and the constitutional revolution relating to human rights and the fundamental change in the normative status of these rights also influence state audit and the activity of the Ombudsman.  In the absence of an exclusive state organ in Israel focusing on the protection and advancement of human rights, the State Comptroller and Ombudsman regards himself as fulfilling this role.  Prof. Aharon Barak (former President of the Supreme Court) stated in this matter that "it is fitting…that the State Comptroller – both in his general capacity and as that of Ombudsman – consider it one of his roles to be defender of human rights", and added that it was the function of the State Comptroller to check the actions of the audited bodies in all that concerns the violation of constitutional rights.

The Office of the Ombudsman, like other ombudsman institutions throughout the world, applies an updated definition of its authority and considers the constitutional and legal norms relating to human rights in the State of Israel a cornerstone on which the investigation of complaints should be founded.